By Ekerete Udoh
The carefully choreographed routine and the architectural columns of the first night-Tuesday August 28 of the Republican Convention that ended in Tampa, Florida on Thursday-August 30th, with the nomination of Mitt Romney as its standard bearer for the November 6, 2912 Presidential elections crumbled like pack of cards, revealing the Herculean task before its media managers on how to rein in the disparate currents that illuminate and paradoxically muddle its messaging board.
Largely seen by many as the ‘coming out’ of Anne Romney and the process of humanizing the perpetually ill-at ease and wooden Mitt Romney and to erase the deeply internalized definition of Mitt Romney as the patrician and disengaged rich American corporate raider who does not ‘feel the pain ‘ the ordinary American is currently experiencing due to gloomy economic conditions and is thus, a candidate for the one percent of uber-rich Americans, the night’s main purpose fell flat and left the campaign managers scratching their heads in utter bewilderment. They should blame themselves for that strategic error in time allocation.
The night had featured as the Keynote Speaker, the so called ‘speak the truth’ New Jersey Governor- Chris Christie whose combative nature is as large as his physical endowments. Beloved by the mainstream media, especially those within the New York, Washington DC Beltway and Los Angeles axis and generally seen and propped up as a potential presidential candidate for 2016, if Mitt Romney’s ambitions gets consumed in electoral fire of defeat in November by President Obama, the media had touted Chris Christie’s speech as one that may flesh out the red meat and the daily bromides fed to the congregation by other deeply doctrinaire Republicans. He was expected to present a raison d’être for a Mitt Romney presidency and galvanized Americans-especially the independents to see in Mitt Romney, an alternative to the four years of “debt and big government’ as the Republicans now describe the Obama presidency.
Well…it didn’t quite pan out. The lack of unanimity in messaging was evident when Anne Romney spent the best part of her speech preaching love, civility and what a great husband Mitt has been to her- a speech that was warmly received by the audience and to a large extent, given the optics of her performance by most Americans who watched the speech on television, only to have Chris Christie come out and instantly contradicted Mrs. Romney’s central message of love. Chris Christie had asked the audience in a voice that was severely combative to choose between ‘love and respect’. He provided an immediate answer to the proposition by stating he will choose respect over love. Poor Mrs. Romney who had been embraced by her husband after her nice speech, sitting next to her husband, may have been wondering what had come over Chris Christie.
In place of a nice tone and cadence of civility that had characterized Anne Romney’s delivery, Chris Christie was the unsmiling, snarling, angry and contemptuous hectoring bull, instructing and lecturing, scolding and barking, threatening and snipping-the net result was that Americans went to bed, completely forgetting the attempt to humanize Mitt Romney that the wife had tried to take them along, instead, it was Chris Christie’s combative tone that loomed large in their sub-conscious. The independents whose night of courtship it was designed to be, may have recoiled in shock and most likely had sworn never to have anything to do with such snarling suitor that is the Republican Party.
As at the time of sending in this column on Wednesday-August 29, Paul Ryan was expected to give his make or break speech. I hope he hit a home run with it. But given what had happened on Tuesday night, the general optics, especially with the punishing effect of Hurricane Isaac on the Gulf coast, the Republican Party Convention may have largely been a convention for the faithful , where no new hearts were changed and the persuadables had simply refused to answer the incessant altar call, preferring to take cover under the tent of ‘big government’ that Obama has provided for almost four years now as opposed to a ‘lean and mean’ small government that may unleash the beast of untrammeled capitalism where the little man would be left to his devices as envisioned by the Republicans. It was also very cynical on their part to exploit the welfare issue and attempt to tie Obama as the ‘welfare president’ when according to all available data, white Americans enjoy as much social safety net from the same ‘big government’ as other minority groups. This sly attempt at invoking racial politics will not wash with the independents. What a colossal waste the first night was!
We have to partner our Diasporan population – ekweremadu
Last Friday, August 24, Dr.Marcel Ajah, the Ebonyi born physician and his delectable wife, Jennifer, hosted Senator Ike Ekweremadu, the Deputy Senate President to a dinner that also provided a platform for interaction with Nigerian Diasporas in the New York Tri-state area at his sprawling home in Old Westbury, Long Island New York. The event which started at 5 pm lasted well past midnight was attended by a select group of high flying Nigerian Diasporas.
Between choice wines and other delicacies, Ekeweremadu enjoined the Nigerian Diaspora community to see themselves as an important constituency in our national development strides. He told the audience that the President Jonathan led administration is very determined to partner Diasporans and to leverage their skills set in the overall development of the country. He agreed with one of the speakers who reminded the senator of the roles the Diasporan population played in moving the economies of the BRIC states-Brazil, Russia, India, China and the newly admitted member nation of South Africa forward.
He asked for support of the Nigerian Diasporas for President Jonathan administration and told them the president is working hard to ensure that some of the challenges that the nation is presently confronting such as infrastructural facilities, power sector and security are being addressed. “If you have other ways and means that we can adopt to handle these challenges, please feel free to contribute such ideas. We, all should claim ownership of the country and see what we can do to collectively move it forward.”
Why divorces are rampant in our Diasporan community (IV)
..Continued from last week
True enough, Jim (my later-to- be husband), was a good looking man. He stood at an imposing 6’3 and looked like one who took his physical appearance very seriously. I liked what I saw instantly and soon began to talk and laugh as if we had known each other for years. It was helpful that we both enjoyed a little bit of alcohol. The ‘Rose’ Champagne soon relaxed us thoroughly and by the time we left my friend’s place, we were in such a comfort zone that if I were not a very morally grounded person, I would have let myself go for anything that night. Jim was a gentleman, and when he saw me off to my home, he only kissed me on the forehead and flatly refused my offer for him to come inside my home. “You are a little tipsy and sleepy-go get some sleep and I will see you tomorrow,” he had told me, to my astonishment and pleasant surprise. What manner of a man was this that had refused to take advantage of my vulnerability which most men would have in a heart-beat? I found myself asking. Throughout that night, the thought of Jim was all that was on my mind, and I became sufficiently curious about him ‘I think I am going to date this man’ I remember telling myself as I finally lumbered to bed that night- a smile of happiness playing sweetly on my lips.
If I was sufficiently intrigued by Jim’s gentlemanly disposition the previous night, I was in for more surprises when I woke up later that night to see a sweet text that Jim had sent to me, in which he told me some of the sweetest things I have ever heard. “I had the best time of my life with you last night, and I am still on cloud 9 by your sense of humor, your beauty and the warmth you showed. I am praying that the moment would be permanent” Jim had stated in the text. Even though I had concerns with his syntax in some parts of the text, I found him a breath of fresh air and my curiosity got even more deepened.
The next day when we met again for dinner, it was apparent I was going to date him. We laughed and engaged in some PDAs-(public display of affection) and when we got to his hotel later that night, I knew the bridge of intimacy would be crossed. I had felt thoroughly comfortable with Jim and I had concluded that he was different from the narcissistic bunch I had met in the past who felt they were doing you a favor by escorting you to dinners whose tab you were likely to pick or sharing intimate moments with you, whose passion or electricity, you won’t feel afterward.
For the three weeks that Jim was in Nigeria, we were practically together and from the way things had progressed, it was clear Jim had found in me a soul mate and when he told me he was looking forward to settling down soon, I prayed and hoped that we would find between us, the reassuring impulse and compatibility to take on that journey together. And it happened faster that I had imagined. I had driven Jim to the airport for his return trip to the U.S., and on our way to the airport, he asked me to park the car close to a nearby church. He asked me to come out of the car and take a walk with him. I was intrigued. As we got close to the entrance of the church, he pulled something out of his pocket and as I stood there wondering what he was doing, he took out the item to reveal a diamond ring and quickly knelt down and I still remember those words vividly today “Mary, in the presence of God Almighty-the author and the finisher of our lives, the one I believe authored this meeting and is destined to finish the great work he has started between us, will you consider me worthy enough to be your husband- the one to love and cherish, the one I would share my life with-in good health or ill, till death do us apart? Since I met you three weeks ago, you have created in me a new layer of happiness and I wish to be drenched in that happiness forever. Will you marry me Mary”? Jim has asked still on a bended knee. To say I was shocked beyond words is an understatement. Tears coming down my cheeks and feeling excited beyond words, I proclaimed loud and clear “Yes Jim, I will marry you…yes, yes and yes.”
After I had seen him off, and driving back to my home, a sudden emptiness descended upon me. I have never felt such a surge of affection and deep feeling of love for a man the way Jim had ignited in me. Jim had told me he was an engineer in New Jersey, and had attended a prominent college there. That he was working for a Fortune 500 firm in New Jersey and that he needed a wife to complete the cycle of his blessings.
To be continued